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Music and Tourism in Scotland Essay

Scottish Tourism bloomed in the 1990s due to major cultural changes in society. Scotland began to create a new identity through the use of media that promoted the social and cultural attributes of the country. Scotland’s home-grown artists were used as a voice at the forefront of the promotion of Scotland’s culture and heritage to world tourism.

My essay will consider a range of issues surrounding the relationship between Scottish tourism and the development of Scottish music during the 1990s. It will consider the artists and songs that played a key role in the development of Scotland’s national identity through outlining particular advertising campaigns used to promote for Scottish tourism. My essay will also discuss the future plans for Scottish Tourism and how music will be part of them.

Scottish Music and Scottish Tourism

Tourism contributes an enormous part of the economy in Scotland – boasting a visitor spend of approximately £4b per year. As a tourist destination, Scotland boasts idyllic opportunities for its visitors such as the hillwalking the Munro Mountains, fishing the River Tay, immersing in the history of Edinburgh or Stirling and admiring the cultural diversities of Glasgow. These opportunities are realised and exploited by Government body: Creative Scotland, which was set up in 1993 and is dedicated to supporting the promotion of culture in Scotland on both national and international levels. Creative Scotland support the current Scottish Governments Corporate Plan, which promises:

‘To focus Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.’

Scotland has developed an exceedingly strong worldwide reputation for its diverse culture and is continuing to do so by championing music and the arts through large scale events and festivals such as Celtic Connections, a relatively new festival of traditional Scottish music which is exclusively held across a number of high-profile venues in Glasgow including the flagship Glasgow Royal Concert Hall which was opened as part of the cultural renaissance of Glasgow in 1990 with Glasgow becoming a European City of Culture in 1990.

The formation of this festival alone has increased global interest from its multiple televised broadcasts on BBC and HD and a promotional tour to Chicago in 2012 during the Ryder Cup at the nearby Merdinah Country Club.

Another notable festival is T in the Park which is sponsored by Scottish Brewery; Tennents. Established in Glasgow in 1993, the festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2013 and showcases international artists with a focus on new and established Scottish acts such as Scottish Band; Travis, who gained international recognition through performing at the festival from 1994 as an unsigned band and subsequently becoming a headlining act of the festival in 2000. The festival moved to Perthshire in 1997 and politicians in the area were united to promote ‘A Soundtrack for Scotland’s Tourism’, linking traditional music and tourism and diversifying the tourist industry. The festival attracts 85,000 people from all over Britain and in some cases worldwide, to Fife, Scotland, the festival has become:

‘One of the most important and critically acclaimed music events on the international festival circuit.’

The festival has been televised on BBC and footage of the festival includes shots of the backdrop landscape of Kinross and Fife regions.

Promoting Scottish Nationalism and Tourism with Music in Sports & Branding

Branded produce from Scotland provided the tourism sector with an indirect source of advertising the heritage and culture of Scotland during the 1990s. Many advertising campaigns were televised; in particular for the alcohol industry, which used iconic songs synced with images of rural and urban Scottish landscapes which helped create an escapist image of Scotland. An example of this would be Tennents’ Lager, who used Dougie Maclean’s song Caledonia against the imagery of a grimy busy city with arrogant people compared to the contrasting escapist, social, warm and friendly atmosphere of a public house in Edinburgh

The sense of nationalism and pride in the cultural diversity in Scotland went from strength to strength in the early 1990s. Scotland celebrated a period of excellence in sport on a global scale which also helped boost the number of visitors to the country. Although Scotland’s national football team failed to advance through the group stages of all the World Cup tournaments in the 1990s including Italy, USA and France respectively, Scotland’s national Rugby team celebrated international success, beating England 13-7 in the 1990 Five Nations Grand Slam.

This event penned The Corries lament: ‘Flower of Scotland’ as the unofficial national anthem of Scotland, boosting the national pride and identity and has been used ever since at most sporting events. The song was written to:

‘Kindle a new awareness of what is being lost and what can be regained. Scotland’s resistance, not its defeat is stressed here.’

Another notable use of Scottish music for advertising Scottish Tourism is the 1997 television campaign which used The Silencers version of Wild Mountain Thyme, which is a traditional piece of music popularised by the particular advert which featured iconic scenes of Scotland’s rural landscapes, castles and activities such as travel, surfing and walking. The advert quoted Scottish Poet Norman MacCaig who wrote about Scotland:

‘Only men’s minds could have unmapped into abstraction such a territory.’

Another song of note which relates to a worldwide audience and captures the picturesque imagery of Scottish landscapes would be Runrig’s version of the traditional Scots Lament; ‘Loch Lomond’, which was voted as Scotland’s best song by a reader poll in Scottish publication The List in 2008, beating Dignity by Deacon Blue, Caledonia by Dougie MacLean and 500 Miles by the Proclaimers, all of whom are regarded as Scottish Nationalist artists with Pete Wishart, Keyboardist of Runrig being elected as an SNP MP at Westminster in 2001. Conclusion – The Future of Scottish Nationalism and Tourism

Scotland’s culture and heritage will continue to grow in the tourism spotlight through the commitment of Creative Scotland and its relationship with VisitScotland which is evident from its goals:

‘Creative Scotland’s ambition is to see Scotland as one of the world’s most creative nations by 2020.’

An example of this commitment is apparent as 2012 is the ‘Year of Creative Scotland’ which continues the celebrations of Scottish culture and promotes it to the world through festivals such as the Sound Festival which will be held over October and November and aims to bring visitors to the North East areas of Scotland to enjoy alternative music of Scotland.

The internet has increasingly become a major role in the promotion of Scotland’s live music events with internet website; www.visitscotland.co.uk, acting as the information and marketing gateway for prospective visitors to find information, link to external websites such as event homepages and furthermore, purchase event tickets directly with great ease.

Glasgow will again become City Of Culture in 2014 and will host the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, which will be an ideal opportunity for sports and Scottish music to join forces once again.


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